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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dermatology Online Journal

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Dermatology Online Journal is an open-access, refereed publication intended to meet reference and education needs of the international dermatology community since 1995. Dermatology Online Journal is supported by the Department of Dermatology UC Davis, and by the Northern California Veterans Administration.

Volume 26, Issue 10, 2020


Updates on treatment guidelines for psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), hidradenitis suppurativa, and acne/rosacea during the COVID-19 pandemic

Owing to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and emerging data regarding immunosuppressant therapies for inflammatory cutaneous diseases, dermatologists are being encouraged to reevaluate their patients' treatment regimens to minimize any potential risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This article includes an overview of the up-to-date international and U.S. treatment guidelines for psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and acne/rosacea; it provides tables summarizing these resources to assist providers and patients in remaining updated regarding recommended treatment modifications during the pandemic (See Tables 1-4).

Digital future of dermatology

Evolution of technology in the past several decades has undeniably transformed the practice of medicine. Dermatology, a field relying on visual cues, has been particularly impacted by advancement in imaging technologies. The purpose of this study was to review the current status as well as digital future of dermatology. The PubMed database was searched for articles pertaining to digital dermatology using search terms digital dermatology, teledermatology, and dermatopathology education. Digital dermatology has found a role in almost every aspect of dermatology: research, dermatology education and training, and clinical practice including disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and patient follow-up. Smartphone applications such VisualDx, MyDermPath, YouDermoscopy serve as diagnostic aid tools and can also help increase the user's knowledge of dermatology. Tools such as multispectral digital skin lesion analysis (MSDSLA) improve diagnostic accuracy and lead to fewer unnecessary biopsies. Teledermatology increases patient satisfaction, as they are able to experience shorter waits times and decreased costs. Underserved communities and those in rural settings are more likely to have a dermatologic evaluation by a specialist via teledermatology. Addressing important topics such as legal framework and updating reimbursement policies will allow for a smoother incorporation of digital dermatology into clinical practice and likely benefit patient care.

Pseudoatrophoderma colli: distinct entity or just a variant of confluent and reticular papilomatosis of Gougerot-Carteaud

Pseudoatrophoderma colli is a rare entity described in the same time period as confluent and reticular papillomatosis of Gougerot-Carteaud and the two conditions have certain similarities. Pseudoatrophoderma colli is clinically characterized by lesions with an atrophic and wrinkled appearance, which are mainly located on the trunk and neck (hence the name colli). Few references exist in the literature and most of them are very old. Histopathological findings are nonspecific, showing mild hyperkeratosis, thinning of the stratum granulosum, and acanthosis and papillomatosis in some areas. In the papillary dermis there is vascular dilatation with a sparse inflammatory lymphohistiocytic perivascular infiltrate. Fragmentation of elastic tissue has been described only in one case. There is no specific treatment, with variable responses to diverse therapies including ultraviolet light, vitamin A, lactic acid and minocycline. We describe in detail two patients with pseudoatrophoderma colli and show histology. The first patient was treated with minocycline 100mg per day for two months and the second patient was treated with lymecycline 600mg per day for three months and 300mg per day for another two months. Both patients demonstrated a good response within the first month of treatment.

Phototherapy in sclerosing and pseudo-sclerosing skin diseases Fototerapia en enfermedades cutáneas esclerosantes y pseudoesclerosantes

Sclerosing and pseudo-sclerosing skin diseases are a therapeutic challenge. Ultraviolet radiation, depending on its wavelength, penetrates into different layers of the skin and acts on cells that promote tissue remodeling and differentiation, such as keratinocytes and fibroblasts. Furthermore, it modulates the inflammatory processes in dendritic cells, endothelial cells, and leukocytes by intervening in the production of cytokines and profibrotic molecules. For these reasons ultraviolet light is a useful option in the treatment of these conditions. Las enfermedades esclerosantes y pseudoesclerosantes de la piel son un grupo de dermatosis que suponen un reto terapéutico para el clínico. La radiación ultravioleta, de acuerdo con su longitud de onda, penetra en las diferentes capas de la piel y actúa sobre aquellas células que favorecen la diferenciación y remodelación tisular como queratinocitos y fibroblastos. Además, modula los procesos inflamatorios en células dendríticas, endoteliales y leucocitos al intervenir en la producción de citoquinas y moléculas profibróticas, volviéndose una alternativa útil en el tratamiento de estas condiciones.


Value of personal statements to dermatology programs: a survey-based critical review

The personal statement is a required component of the residency application, offering applicants the opportunity to showcase their personality as well as unique thoughts and experiences not explicitly stated elsewhere in their application. Although the applicant-generated nature of personal statements can gauge an applicant's professionalism, creativity, sound judgement, and tact, specific criteria for evaluating personal statements and comparing them to one another is lacking. Research on the value of personal statements in the application process is also lacking. The purpose of this research project is to quantify the perceived value of the personal statement to program directors and faculty members of U.S. dermatology programs involved in residency application review. Analysis of our survey responses determined that although the majority of participants consider the personal statement to be a necessary element of an application, it was rated least important compared to other components of the application. An applicant's Medical Student Performance Evaluation, clerkship grades, research projects and publications, board scores, and letters of recommendation were consistently rated as more important than the personal statement. These findings suggest the personal statement lacks the standardization needed for decision makers to confidently choose the best new dermatology residents for their program.

Efficacy and safety of ingenol disoxate gel in field treatment of actinic keratosis on full face, scalp or large area (250 cm2) on the chest: results of four phase 3 randomized controlled trials

Introduction: Actinic keratosis (AK) is a skin condition arising from chronic exposure to ultraviolet light and may lead to the development of malignancies. This trial aimed to evaluate efficacy and safety of ingenol disoxate gel (IngDsx, 0.018% for face/chest [FC]; 0.037% for scalp [S]), versus vehicle. Methods: Four identical phase 3 trials in patients with AK on the full face/up to 250cm2 of chest or full balding scalp, with an initial 8-week period and 12-month follow-up, were conducted. FC and S trials were pooled for analysis. The primary endpoint was complete clearance at Week 8. Results: Across trials, 616 patients were randomized to FC and 626 to S, with 410 and 420 assigned to receive IngDsx, respectively. In the FC and S trials, 25.9% and 24.5% of patients in the IngDsx group, respectively, achieved the primary endpoint. IngDsx was relatively well tolerated. During extended follow-up, there were more identified non-melanoma skin malignancies in the IngDsx group than vehicle group; HR: 2.38 (95% CI: 1.28, 4.41). Conclusion: Treatment with IngDsx was superior to vehicle on all clinical endpoints, patient-reported and cosmetic outcomes. During the 12-month follow-up, slightly increased skin malignancies in the treatment area were identified, potentially due to unintentional detection bias.

Case Report

Tumoral melanosis after immunotherapy with pembrolizumab - a response sign mimicking melanoma

Tumoral melanosis is a rare histopathological finding characterized by aggregates of melanophages, in the absence of melanocytes, usually observed in sites of regressed melanocytic lesions, including melanoma. A 72-year-old woman with a history of a completely excised melanoma on her right arm (T3bN0M0, Stage IIb) presented with clinically-evident regional lymph node metastasis. This was treated with right axillary lymphadenectomy. Subsequently, a 2-centimeter blue-colored patch over the excision scar was identified, along with a blue nodule within the posterior aspect of the same arm, consistent with in-transit metastases. Additional metastases on the right hilar region of the lungs were detected by PET/CT. Hence, the patient began immunotherapy with pembrolizumab. After three months, a second PET/CT revealed a complete response, but the patient maintained the blue-colored patch previously observed. Given the discrepancy between the clinical and metabolic response she underwent a skin biopsy; histological examination showed findings compatible with tumoral melanosis resulting from complete regression of a metastatic lesion. In cases of metastatic melanoma under immunotherapy with anti-PD1 agents, especially pembrolizumab, tumoral melanosis has been anecdotally associated with tumor regression and favorable treatment response. The patient has been maintained on pembrolizumab, accomplishing 15 cycles, and has had a complete response to date.

Conradi–Hünermann–Happle syndrome: report of a novel heterozygous mutation on the emopamil-binding protein gene, c.333delC

Conradi-Hünermann-Happle Syndrome, also called X-linked rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata, is a rare genodermatosis that presents with cutaneous, skeletal, and ophthalmological abnormalities. Herein, we report a full-term newborn that presented at birth with scattered blaschkolinear bands of adherent scales and scalp erosions in a spiral distribution. Genetic analysis of emopamil-binding protein gene revealed a previously undescribed heterozygous mutation of c.333delC.

Case Presentation

Hypocomplementemic cutaneous small vessel vasculitis in a patient with IgG4-related disease

A 62-year-old man was diagnosed with IgG4-related disease based on multiple sites of lymphadenopathy, lymph node biopsy, and elevated serum levels of IgG4. Hypocomplementemia was also observed. During admission, he was referred to our department complaining of multiple areas of purpura on the lower legs. Histological examination revealed leukocytoclastic vasculitis with fibrinoid necrosis, neutrophil infiltration, and nuclear dust in the upper dermis. To date, only a few cases of cutaneous vasculitis have been reported in IgG4-related disease, all of which showed hypocomplementemia. The role of IgG4 in the etiology of leukocytoclastic vasculitis in IgG4-related disease remains unknown and further studies are necessary.

Successful treatment of recurrent advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma with cemiplimab

A 90-year-old man presented for evaluation of an incompletely excised squamous cell carcinoma above the right brow, with pathology demonstrating tumor extending to resection margins with perineural invasion. A cord of tumor was noted to extend past the orbital rim and towards the posterior orbit. Mohs excision versus coordinated resection and reconstruction with colleagues in the head and neck surgery and craniofacial plastic surgery departments were considered. Multidisciplinary consensus was to proceed with radical resection in the operating room followed by adjuvant radiation therapy. One year later, the patient presented to our Mohs unit with a 3cm eroded multinodular plaque. Following an in-depth discussion regarding the options of further surgery versus systemic treatment, the patient and his family opted to pursue consultation with a medical oncology consultant to discuss restaging and potential systemic therapy. A PET scan with concurrent CT revealed a hypermetabolic right temporal scalp mass without evidence of bony invasion or extension into the nodal basin. Immunotherapy with cemiplimab was started at a dose of 350mg IV every three weeks. After 7 cycles, the patient demonstrated complete clinical resolution with a repeat PET scan showing interval near resolution of abnormal metabolic activity.

Asymptomatic disseminated telangiectasias: a rare case of cutaneous collagenous vasculopathy

Cutaneous collagenous vasculopathy (CCV) is a rare idiopathic microangiopathy affecting superficial dermal blood vessels. It is characterized by asymptomatic, disseminated, telangiectatic macules that typically involve the extremities. We report the case of a 58-year-old woman who presented with widespread telangiectasias of three years' duration on the upper extremities and abdomen. Cutaneous collagenous vasculopathy may be underdiagnosed as it is often mistaken for disorders that are morphologically very similar, including generalized essential telangiectasia, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, and pigmented purpuric dermatosis. The diagnosis of CCV is made histologically and findings feature dilated superficial dermal vessels with thickened walls containing periodic acid-Schiff-positive eosinophilic hyaline material. Effective treatment options for CCV have yet to be established and given its benign disease course, treatment may not be necessary. Pulsed dye laser can be offered to patients for cosmetic improvement but the extent of the disease makes complete lesion clearance challenging in most cases. Given the lesions were asymptomatic our patient declined all offered treatment modalities.

Scented lotions may cause scaring and premature fading of tattoos

Although tattoo artists provide tattoo aftercare instructions to their clients, recommendations are often not cost-effective or supported by evidence. A 22-year-old man developed a pruritic red rash over his healing tattoo one week after receiving the tattoo. Although multiple queries were negative, the patient did note use of a scented lotion before the eruption. We determined that allergic contact dermatitis from the scented lotion caused scarring and premature fading of the new tattoo. Tattoo artists should recommend avoidance of scented lotions and instruct clients to care for their new tattoo like a wound in their aftercare instructions.

Photo Vignette

Crusted scabies in an elderly woman

Crusted scabies is a highly contagious variant of classic scabies. Affected individuals are often elderly or immunocompromised and disease is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Herein, we report an elderly woman residing in an assisted living facility who presented with diffuse sand-on-skin scale on her trunk, proximal extremities, scalp, hands, and feet. She was diagnosed with crusted scabies, isolated from other patients, and subsequently treated with permethrin 5% lotion and ivermectin. She died two weeks after initial presentation owing to sepsis.

Livedo racemosa secondary to hyaluronic acid injection

Iatrogenic vascular occlusion secondary to filler injection, such as with hyaluronic acid, is a known but rare, entity. It typically occurs in the setting of facial cosmetic procedures but has also been described in the setting of osteoarthritis. We present a patient with ankle osteoarthritis who developed an asymmetric, reticular, livedoid eruption after intraarticular injection with hyaluronic acid. She was diagnosed with livedo racemosa secondary to vascular occlusion and placed on low molecular weight heparin. Later, a transition to low-dose daily aspirin maintained the improvement.

Severe erosive gingivostomatitis in a patient treated by vedolizumab

Vedolizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to the human a4β7 integrin and is approved for use in inflammatory bowel diseases. We describe a patient with severe, refractory erosive gingivostomatitis, which appeared a few days after the first dose of vedolizumab and resolved after discontinuation of the drug. We believe the gingivostomatitis to be a direct side effect of vedolizumab, rather than an extraintestinal manifestation of the underlying inflammatory bowel diseases. The clinicians need to be aware of this adverse event, which could be mistakenly considered as an extraintestinal manifestation of inflammatory bowel diseases.

Circumscribed storiform collagenoma, an unusual tumor

Circumscribed storiform collagenoma is a rare benign tumor. It appears as an isolated skin lesion or as part of the clinical spectrum of Cowden syndrome. The pathogenesis is still controversial. Although its clinical expression is heterogeneous, it has a characteristic histological pattern. We describe a case of a solitary circumscribed storiform collagenoma not associated with Cowden syndrome.

Hallopeau type of pemphigus vegetans, an unusual clinical presentation of an infrequent disease

Pemphigus vegetans is a rare variant of pemphigus vulgaris, characterized by vegetative lesions that develop mainly in flexural areas. Herein, we present a middle-aged woman who presented to the emergency department with a rare cutaneous finding of bilateral axillary pustules that progressed over months to vegetant and malodorous plaques associated with subsequent painful erosions.

Pedunculated atypical fibroxanthomas of the face

Atypical fibroxanthomas are rare, superficial dermal tumors. Most cases are benign and only locally destructive with a low rate of metastasis. Lesions are most commonly found on sun-exposed sites of elderly light-skinned patients and present as asymptomatic nodules with irregular borders; ulcerations and friability are other key characteristics. Pedunculated lesions, however, are rarely described in the literature. We present two cases of atypical fibroxanthoma manifesting as exophytic, pedunculated lesions on the face: one in a 74-year-old man and the other in an 82-year-old woman. These tumors are very effectively treated by excision with Mohs micrographic surgery.

Recruitment Advertisement

Position Title: Academic Dermatologist

The University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, is recruiting for two academic dermatologists in the Clinical X series or Health Sciences Clinical Professor (HSCP) series at the Assistant/Associate/Full Professor level based on experience and qualifications. These positions are for general medical dermatologists.Expectations of the Clinical X series is to engage in teaching, research, service and clinical work, while expectations of the faculty in the HSCP series are primarily clinical and include teaching, service and scholarly and/or creative activity. The appointments may be made up to 100%.

Position Title: Scientist

The University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, is recruiting for a scientist position with skin immunology and microbiome research experience at the rank of Associate or Full Professor/In-Residence series based on experience and qualifications. Expectations of a Clinical X series is to engage in teaching, research, service, and clinical work, while expectations of faculty in the HSCP series are primarily clinical and include teaching, service, and scholarly and/or creative activities. The appointment may be made up to 100% and will report to the Chair of the Department of Dermatology. We especially welcome applicants whose research, teaching, and community outreach demonstrably attest to their commitment to inclusion of under-represented and/or nonmajority individuals into their respective area of specialization within their discipline.